Posts Tagged 'failure'

When the light bulb went on

I had completely missed the implication of the second half of the statement, when Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”, until it struck me today. He had not done random experiments, he had done controlled and well-thought out experiments and figured out what works and what does not. That is the genius!

Many of us try mindlessly several times to do things, invest our time on building markets, converting customers, but doing it in a scientific manner, where even the fact that you failed adds to your knowledge and improves your chances of success is more important. Being flexible and open to the fact that your method or business model or idea is not perfect and that one needs to figure out a way of making it happen step by step thought out manner is a very interesting observation in entrepreneurship.

What do you think? Are we at least partially scientific in the way we try to get through our lives, in relationships that don’t work, with colleagues/bosses who we don’t get through to, with customers who don’t respond and new products that we try to launch in markets unexplored? How can we do better?

Tinkering and Innovation

I was reading Nissim Taleb’s, Black Swan and something that he mentioned really jumped at me. He talks about how in the history no major discovery, breakthrough or innovation ever happened based on statistics and empirical data. It happened because people tinkered with experiments, data, projects, applications. In my mind, this is a very important observation, for any industry to proliferate and grow in a region it is important to have opportunities to tinker, experiment, fail….and win. Why do I say fail? It is not so much the act of failing rather the freedom to do so that frees the person from the burden of being mediocre and following the set path. It frees people to be themselves and in the process creating a network effect on industries across the stream.

Incubation centres play such a role and let people experiement, tinker and learn. But more importantly, the process of tinkering has to be easily doable, accessible and low cost leading to high quality, highly reliable network for innovation for anyone who decided to do so. This is one of the reasons why product innovation has not taken off in such a big way in India, yet. Especially creating products that require large capital infusion to create the basic prototype before the customer can fund it by being “raving fans”.

What do you think? How important is tinkering and access to experimentation in creating product companies in a region? How important is this within a company? Can we hold Google’s 20% innovation time as a rule as opposed to an exception, within companies, now that we know this fact?


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